Capturing the Wind: Building a LEGO Anemometer





Name of Activity Capturing the Wind: Building a LEGO Anemometer
Author STOMP
Keywords NXT, program, anemometer, data, data collection, axles, bushings, plates, rotation sensor
Subject NXTs
Grade Level 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9+
Time 2 Hours Total
Brief Description Students will use their NXTs to build and program an anemometer that collects data.
Lesson Objectives: - To learn about methods of measuring and collecting weather data.
- To program using NXT software.
Materials Needed: NXT
Rotation sensor
plates (with holes)
thick paper/index cards/cups
tape/paper clips
Preparation and Set Up: Set up computers running MINDSTORMS.
Gather necessary materials.
Arrange students in groups of 2.
Distribute necessary materials.
  1. Have students build fan-like structure:
    1. Attach two plates in a ‘plus-sign’ design.  Be sure the holes line up where they cross!  Then take a bushing and attach it to the plates as shown.  Make sure the smooth edge faces up and the notched edge is touching the plate.
    2. Slide an axle through the plates and bushing.  It is a good idea to secure the plates with a second bushing.  Then slide the other end of the axle through a rotation sensor.  Use bushings to secure the sensor also.
    3. Use thick paper, index cards, or cups to create sails.  Tape or clip these to the plates.  Attach the rotation sensor to the RCX.  Make sure to plug the sensor into port 1.
  2. Have students write a program in investigator in ROBOLAB:
    1. Write a program in level 1 to record rotation sensor data for a certain length of time.
    2. Adjust sampling rate to a very small interval (decimal).
    3. Download and run the program to measure the speed of the fan blades as you blow on them or from outside in the wind.
  3. Have students upload and analyze the data:
    1. Upload the data to investigator.
    2. You will want to convert data from sixteenths of a rotation into full rotations. Use the compute tool to divide the data in the red bin by 16.
    3. Look and the chart and note trends. What happens when the wind blows harder? softer? How fast did the wind blow? How slow?
Extensions: Experiment with different types of arms to see what works best (different material for blades/longer blades/wider blades/narrower blades/angled blades/flat blades).
Once you’ve selected a type, try different sizes.
Reference 1

Solar System – ROVing Away





Name of Activity Solar System – ROVing Away
Author STOMP
Keywords Solar System, ROV, planet, beam, bricks, plates, axles, Solar Energy, Light Sensor
Subject and Grade Level NXT, K, 1, 2, 3
Time 1 Hour Total
Lesson Objectives: - Program a NXT ROV to travel from Earth to an assigned planet.
- Use this activity to learn about the solar system.
Materials Needed: - One pre-built NXT car for each pair of students.
- ‘Solar System’ that can be laid out on the floor, which shows all nine planets including earth. These can be marked off with tape, construction paper circles, etc.
- ‘ROVing Away’ activity worksheet.
- Planet fact cards set at each planet.
- Postcards from Pluto, by Loreen Leedy.
Preparation and Set Up: - Create ‘Solar System’ and planet facts.
- Lay out ‘Solar System’ and planet facts.
- Distribute NXT cars.
- Distribute activity worksheets.
- Break students into groups of 2.
- The teacher should do some research on each planet so that students can discuss the solar system after the activity. Wikipedia should have sufficient information on the solar system for this activity:
  1. (optional) Read Postcards from Pluto by Loreen Leedy to the class. This will serve as review and set up for the lesson.
  2. Divide students into groups and assign each group a planet (there may be repeats).
  3. Tell students to make an educated guess as to how long they think their trip might take from Earth to their assigned planet. Have students program their car to run for this amount of time and then stop.
  4. Tell students that since the planets are different distances from Earth, the time that each group programs into their NXT should be different.
  5. Tell students to reenter new times until their car stops exactly at the designated planet.
  6. Come together as a class and discuss the difficulties and successes that each group had.
  7. Have each student read their planet fact card to the class to facilitate discussion on the solar system.
Extensions or Modifications: - Use a light sensor to program the car when to stop.
- Program the NXT car to turn around and return to Earth.
- Program the NXT to turn and stop when it is facing the sun. The sun can be represented as a flashlight and the device used to make the NXT stop is the light sensor.
Sample Image 1
Sample Image 2
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